Directive COVID-19 Pandemic: Managing Courthouse Occupancy
Table of Contents
COVID-19 Pandemic; Managing Courthouse Occupancy
- Effective July 13, 2020 courthouses reopen to the public. In response to this decision and the COVID-19 pandemic, reduced occupancy limits have been imposed at courthouses in effort to avoid creating conditions that would promote the spread of the virus. The Trial Court Security Department has been designated the Trial Court entity responsible for controlling courthouse access and tracking building occupancy by members of the public entering a courthouse, to include attorneys, police officers, jurors, court service providers,1 contractors/vendors and others who enter through the public entrance that are not either an assigned judge, court staff member, or resident non-employee.2
- Consistent with standard operating procedure public access to the courthouse is controlled at the entry screening station. Each courthouse has been assigned an adjusted public occupancy limit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This occupancy limit will not be exceeded. Security Department officers assigned to public entries will maintain a current total of the number of persons from the public, as defined, within the building at all times. This occupancy total will require constant adjustment as persons enter and depart the courthouse. Using enclosure (1) an occupancy log will be maintained at the entry screening station in a loose leaf notebook for each business day. Enclosure (1) includes an example log and a blank log sheet for each courthouse that is annotated with the adjusted maximum occupancy limit for that building. Each courthouse shall use the appropriate log sheet designated for that building. Courthouse specific log sheets are designed in graph form with graduated occupancy levels and time intervals on each axis. A current count of persons in the building will be recorded in the appropriate space on the log at continuous thirty minute intervals. The first entry will be made at 8:30am and additional entries into the log will continue every thirty minutes until closure of the court to the public. The design of the log sheet is intended to show peak occupancy at a glance and to allow this data to be compared to the adjusted occupancy limit so decisions concerning the scheduling of in-person court events and services can be informed.
- Chief Court Officers may assign a sufficient number of officers to the public entrances to accomplish this and other duties assigned to that post. Completed log sheets shall be retained by the Chief Court Officer until further notice and may be shared with First Justices, Clerks and/or Registers upon request.
- This directive shall be effective on July 13, 2020 and remain in effect until repealed by the Director of Security.